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By Brian Fees
Southern Tier Sports Report
When it came to picking the boys’ athlete of the year it was a pretty clear cut choice, with an athlete winning state titles in all three seasons. For the girls, the choice was so much tougher.

Notre Dame’s Shannon Maloney and Corning’s Jenna DiNardo were both all-stars in three different sports, while Sarah Lawson was a three-sport athlete and multiple sport state medalist and Atalyia Rijo of Corning was a two-sport standout, but she was so good in softball she was the Gatorade New York State Player of the Year.

In the end it was impossible to pick just one and DiNardo and Maloney will share the athlete of the year honor, with Lawson earning runner-up honors and Rijo earning second runner-up honors.

For this award we focus highly on multiple sport athletes. A one-sport athlete may also be considered for the list with a dominant year, but the focus tends to be on multiple-sport athletes.

We will start with the athlete of the year, the runner-up and then the second runner-up and then we will list the rest of the dominant 16 list of the best athletes of the year.


A three-sport star, Maloney was a first-team all-state soccer player, and then she was a standout on the basketball and softball fields as well.

In the fall The Crusaders junior was a first-team all-state selection, and she allowed just three goals all postseason long, and only one before the state semifinals.

It was Maloney’s first year as Notre Dame’s goalie, but you would never be able to tell. She put in a lot of work in the offseason and became a dominant force in net, using her athleticism to make saves few can get to.

Maloney was named the All-Southern Tier player of the year. She is only a junior and will be back looking to lead the Crusaders to a state title next season.

She was runner-up for top athlete of the fall honors.

In basketball season Maloney was an all-STSR basketball player and a member of the Super 7 top winter athletes list.

Maloney averaged 15.6 points a game this year and grabbed 174 rebounds, 53 on the offensive end. She had 60 assists 49 steals and 25 blocked shots as she did a little bit of everything for Notre Dame this year.

In softball Maloney was an all-IAC center fielder, and she hit .420 with 14 stolen bases on the season.

In the fall DiNardo was the setter of the year this year is Jenna DiNardo of Corning. A strong force for the Hawks this season, she helped Corning reach the sectional playoffs. Had 209 assists and 149 after moving into the setter role this year, while adding 83 points and 20 aces. She goes after every ball and is a very athletic player.

In basketball season DiNardo was a force on defense, averaging five steals and seven rebounds a game. The junior added a team-best 14 points a game and five assists a game as she did everything for the Hawks. DiNardo’s athleticism was hard to match and the Division I commit in lacrosse was a driving force behind the Hawks’ success. She was the All-STSR Defensive Player of the Year.

In the spring DiNardo was on the Super 7 list. DiNardo reached 100 career goals this year as a junior and the Virginia commit is the girls’ lacrosse offensive Player of the Year.


A star in three sports, and a state medalist in multiple sports, along with being an All-American, Lawson started her year in dominant fashion during cross country season.

The Hawks sophomore had a huge year, earning a state medal in Class A after winning the STAC and Section 4 titles. She finished 16th at the prestigious Eastbay Regional meet.

The Corning runner helped guide her team to a STAC title and a Section 4 Championship.

She was the All-Southern Tier Female Runner of the Year. She was a all-STSR Super Seven athlete in the fall.

During the winter sports season Lawson had a top 10 finish at the state meet, and followed that up with an All-American finish this winter.

At states Lawson was 10th in the 3000 meters in a time of 10:07.58. She also helped the Hawks 4x800 relay finish 11th in the state.

Lawson then went to nationals where she took fifth in the 5000 meters to earn All-American honors. Lawson as the third runner-up for the athlete of the winter.

Lawson was the overall outdoor track and field all-STSR athlete of the year in the Spring. She was undefeated in the 3000 meters in the STAC West. She was a state medalist in the 3000, taking sixth in D1 states and seventh in the Federation race with a time of 9:56.99 this year.

Lawson was also part of the 4x800 relay team that qualified for states. She didn’t run the race at states, after running the 3000 the day before, but she was part of the team’s journey to states.

Lawson was on the Super 7 list all three sports seasons.


Rijo started her year as a state qualifier in the 60 meter dash during the indoor track and field season.

That was all a prequel to what happened in the spring.

Corning’s Atalyia Rijo capped her fantastic career by being named the Gatorade New York Softball Player of the Year and she was the all-STSR softball player of the year.

Rijo hit .585 with seven home runs. She led the area with 43 runs this year and stole 10 bases. Rijo was tied for the area lead with 20 extra base hits, eight doubles, five triples and the seven home runs. She had a .675 on-base and a 1.185 slugging percentage.

Rijo, who has one of the best gloves you’ll ever see at shortstop, was also the defensive player of the year this season.

Rijo is among the top recruits in the nation and she’s committed to play in the SEC at Arkansas.

Rijo was the spring sports top athlete.

During soccer season the Crusaders senior was one of the best goal scorers in the area. She had a nose for the goal and always came up with timely goals in helping the Crusaders reach the state semifinals. She was a Super 13 all-STSR soccer all-star.

During the outdoor track and field season Simpson was a state medalist as part of the 4xr00 relay. Took fourth overall, 3rd in D2, in the 800 at the state qualifier in 2:22.12. Had the top time at state qualifier, between all classes, in 4:10.63

During the indoor state meet she was a state qualifier in the intersectional relay along with her sister.

Like her sister, Amanda Simpson was an all-STSR pick during soccer season. A dominant force defensively for the Crusaders. She was the anchor for the Notre Dame defense that allowed fewer goals per game than any team around. She was a big key in the team winning the sectional title and making the state semifinals.

During the outdoor track and field season she was a state medalist as part of the 4xr00 relay. State qualifier in the 400. Won the state qualifier in 58.61. Had the top time at state qualifier, between all classes, in 4:10.63.

During the indoor state meet she was a state qualifier in the intersectional relay along with her sister.

A soccer standout, Gill was also a state qualifier during the indoor track and field season, and while she missed a chunk of the lacrosse season with an injury, she made an impact late in the year upon her return and was a second-team all-STSR pick.

In indoor track and field she was a state qualifier in the triple jump and 4x200 relay.

In girls’ soccer Gill was the anchor for a Corning defense that was one of the stingiest in Section 4 and she is the Defensive Player of the Year. The Hawks recorded eight shutouts this year and Gill was a big reason why. Gill, who is going to Division I Niagara next year to play Lacrosse, is a fierce competitor and made it hard for forwards to get past her. She was a team leader who always was hustling to the ball.

She is a Niagara commit for lacrosse.

An all-defensive team selection during basketball season. Guzylak was one of the toughest and most reliable players that Horseheads coach Andy Scott has ever coached. She played strong inside all year and guarded the best forward on the other team. She was a team captain, along with Scott, and Andy Scott described her as a very positive, energetic, and fun to coach.

In lacrosse Guzylak was a first-team all-STSR pick. She had 45 goals and 21 assists to lead the Blue Raiders in scoring this year as Horseheads won a sectional title.

The Horseheads all-time leader in three-point baskets made, Scott was a basketball all-state pick.

Scott led the Blue Raiders in scoring at 12.5 points a game. She led the team with 62 threes and broke the old school record of 52 threes twice (83 in 2020 and the 62 this year). She is the all-time three-point leader in school history with 191.

In softball Scott was a second-team all-STSR pick. She hit .405 this year with 10 runs scored.

A three-sport star for the Spartans this season.

In volleyball she was the definition of a complete player, had 192 assists and 101 kills for the Spartans this year. Also had 61 digs and 24 blocks, while compiling a 96% serve percentage.

A true leader on and off the court for Edison. The captain of her team was the MVP of the division.

She helped the Spartans capture a division title and was the All-Southern Tier Most Versatile player award winner and she was on the fall sports all-STSR Super Seven list.

Lutz headlined the all-STSR boys’ and girls’ tennis all-star teams, earning player of the year honors among all the best boys and girls tennis players in the area.

Lutz had a dominant regular season, going 9-3 in singles while playing in a co-ed league. She then teamed with Abe Johnson to win the Section 4, Class C-D Doubles Championship. She was the second runner-up on the Super 7 spring sports list.

Lutz was an all-defensive team member during the basketball season.

A state champion in track and field, DeRosa was also a dominant force during the spring on the softball field.

DeRosa had a magical run through the postseason for the Hawks in indoor track and field.

The Hawks senior has had one of the most amazing runs over a two week span.

Heading into the sectional meet she was throwing highs of around 43 feet. She hit 46 feet at the sectional meet, and then hit nearly 50 feet at the state meet to improve seven feet in a two week span to capture the state title.

DeRosa was dominant throughout the state meet, leading through most of the competition, which allowed her to go for, and connect on, the big throw on her final throw.

DeRosa was the top athlete on the winter sports Super 7 list.

In the spring she was the all-STSR softball offensive player of the year.

Corning’s DeRosa tied her teammate Rijo for the most extra base hits in the area with 20. She tied for the area lead with nine home runs, and had six triples and five doubles. She scored 40 runs and she hit .551 with a 1.188 slugging percentage with a .610 on-base percentage.  

Was an all-rookie team selection during basketball season. Ross rejoined the Express after not having played since playing JV as a seventh grader. At 5-foot, 3-inches she made an impact scoring 4.5 points and adding 4.6 rebounds a game. Allen calls her pound for pound one of the toughest players in the area.

She was an all-STSR first-team pick during softball season as a standout two-way star for Elmira, starting a number of games on the mound this year.

Ross was an all-STSR pick for cross country this year after qualifying for states for the Express.

A soccer standout, Gerow was then a state qualifier in both indoor and outdoor track and field.

During soccer season she was a Super 13 all-STSR all-star. After missing part of the season with a knee injury, Gerow was a key to the Hawks turnaround that helped them win the STAC title. She had six goals and six assists, and multiple times came up with the lone goal in 1-0 Corning wins. Her goals were vital in the STAC playoffs and while the Hawks didn’t generate a lot of scoring changes, she was usually involved when they did.

In indoor track and field she made states in the 600 meters and 4x400 relay. She was a state medalist in the 4x800 and 4x400 relays at outdoor states and also ran the 400 hurdles at outdoor states.

In outdoor track and field Gerow was part of state medal winning 4x800 relay at states, part of 4x400 relay that medaled at states, state qualifier in 400 hurdles in states. Won Section 4 title in 400 hurdles in 1:06.78

In volleyball season she was on the all-STSR unsung heroes list. The Express setter was solid setting up her teammates, and also excelled on the defensive end.

Malone was a first-team all-STSR pick in lacrosse this year. She was a Section 4 2nd team all-star and is a four-year player and two-year captain. She had 25 goals and six assists, with 19 caused turnovers and 45 draw controls.

In soccer season, Malone was the all-STSR goalie of the year.

Malone was a team captain and a four-year starter for Elmira, who will play for Nazareth College next year. She had eight shutouts in goal this year.

Mordvinova was a state qualifier, and an all-STSR pick during cross country season. She was an all-STSR pick for the cross country all-star team and she was second at sectionals this year.

The Elmira standout had a big day at the state meet during the indoor season, finishing ninth in the 1000 meters for the Express.

Mordvinova also teamed up with three other runners, two from Notre Dame, in the Intersectional relay at states.

The ninth-place finish for Mordvinova was the fourth-highest finish of any any individual local athlete at the state meet.

In the spring sports. Mordvinova was the track athlete of the year.

Mordvinova set the Elmira school record in the 800 (2:14.12) and won the 800 at the STAC meet, Class A sectional meet and the state qualifier. She was eighth in D1 at states.

The Elmira standout won the 1500 at the Fast Time Invitational and won the state qualifier and took 13th at states in 4:36.57. She also won the 3000 meters at the Blue Shoes Invite.

During the outdoor season Mordvinova set the Elmira school record in the 800 (2:14.12). Won the 800 at the STAC meet, Class A sectional meet and state qualifiers. Was 8th in D1 at states. In the 1500 was first at the Fast Time Invitational and won the state qualifiers and took 13th at states in 4:36.57. In the 3000 meters she won the Blue Shoes Invitational.

Like Ryan McNutt for the boys, McKane is a one-sport standout, but what a one sport it was.

She became the first swimming state champion for the Hawks when she won the 100 fly NYSPHSAA title and she also added a fifth-place finish in the 50 free.

McKane broke school records in both events and also broke the Section 4 record in the fly. Her list of records she holds is already a mile long and she’s just a sophomore. Made states in four events, helping Corning make it to states in both the 200 and 400 free relays. Helped the 200 free relay finish 11th at states.

McKane was the All-Southern Tier Swimmer of the Year. She already has one state title in her career and has two more years to try and add to that.
IN PHOTO: Corning’s Jenna DiNardo and Notre Dame’s Shannon Maloney. . . STSR FILE PHOTOS.

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